Madison West, Class of 1954

West High School, Madison, WI, 1954

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Class News, 2017, 18
The Committee

Recent Class News, April 11, 2005

Jim Lund had a stroke on a trip to Florida.  The stroke occurred in Paducah, KY, but Jim is back in Madison now doing rehab work.  Sounds pretty serious, since he has to learn to walk again.  Seems hard to believe that the center from our basketball team is in such condition now, but, they do a lot with stroke victims, so we’ll hope for the best.  You could e-mail Jim a message or send a card to the address on the class roster page.

Marlene Bakken Olson’s mother died recently.  She was a long time resident of Oakwood Village Retirement Center in Madison.  Our thoughts and prayers for Marlene and family.

Obituaries from The Wisconsin State Journal, Sunday April 10, 2005

Hook, Beverly Kay

MADISON - Beverly Kay Hook died on Thursday, April 7, 2005.  She was born on November 21, 1936, to Laverne and Mathield (Gorder) Larson in Dodgeville.  Beverly graduated from Central High School in 1955.  In April, 1956, she married Richard A. Hook whom she is survived by.  She is further survived by two daughters, Kristi Hook-Brietzman and Karri (Dennis) Hook-Kelliher.  Beverly is also survived by her grandchildren, Nicholas and Robyn Reed, Bradley Brietzman and Andrew Gadow.  she was preceded in death by her parents, Laverne and Mathield (Gorder) Larson.  A celebration of life will be held from 6 p.m until 8 p.m on Tuesday, April 12, 2005, at CRESS FUNERAL HOME,  3610 Speedway Road, Madison.  The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. John Brandabur and the staff at Don & Marilyn Anderson Hospice Center.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Don and Marilyn Anderson Hospice Center.

MADISON - Marie O. Johnson Bakken, age 92, passed away on March 1, 2005, at Oakwood Village Retirement Community, where she resided since 1991.  Marie was born in Mount Horeb on November 2, 1912, the daughter of John and Olena Johnson.  Throughout her childhood and young adult life, Marie worked on the family farm and in the Mount Horeb community.  On Feb. 14, 1934, she married Delphin Bakken and they lived in Mount Horeb until 1940, when they moved to Madison to pursue business opportunities.  Family was the center of Marie's existence.  She demonstrated a profound love for each of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, a love exceed only by her love for God and her husband.  Her entire life was about service to to others.  She was known and loved for her wonderful sense of humor,  her willingness to help others, her gracious and generous hospitality, along with her vast and superior skills in the kitchen.  All were welcome and wonderfully fed in the family dining room.  Delphin and Marie were the consummate "good neighbors" during theirs on Emerald, Crandall and Knickerbocker streets.  Giving to and serving others was Marie's mission, her identity and a heritage that she passed on to her family.  Marie and Delphin were members of Bethel Lutheran Church, maintaining active membership for many years.  Marie was a member of the Bethel Sunday School staff, Kayra and XYZ.  She was employed in the food service departments of the Madison School District at Silver Spring Elementary School and West High School and later at M & I Bank of Madison.  Being dedicated sports fans, both Delphin and Marie enjoyed high school games, the Badgers and the Packers.  They played many holes of golf together.  Following Delphin's death in 1961, Marie maintained those interests, often attending West High games, playing golf and watching the Badgers on TV.  She is survived by her children, Lowell (Judie) Bakken, Marlene (John) Olson, and Jim (Hope) Bakken, along with seven grandchildren, Laurie Olson Marsh, Aurora, Ill. Dr. Michael Olson, Los Angeles, Calif., Kristin Olson, Portland, Ore., Tom Bakken, Waunakee, Jill Bakken, Vitale, Watertown, Kristine Bakken Milner, St. Louis, Mo., and Ellen Bakken Schmidt, Shaker Heights, Ohio; 13 great-grandchildren, Ryan, Matthew and Katelyn Marsh, Aidan, Sean and Christian Bakken, Ellen and Claire Vitale, John and Kate Milner, George, Joe and Sam Schmidt, and numerous extended family members.  Marie was preceded in death by her husband, Delphin L. Bakken; a sister, Alet (Johnson) Erb; four brothers: Palmer, Glenn, Norman and Julian Johnson, and several brothers and sisters-in-law.  A celebration of Marie's live and commitment to others will be held Saturday, April 16, 2005, at OAKWOOD VILLAGE WEST RETIREMENT COMMUNITY CHAPEL, 6105 Mineral Point Road.  A visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by a memorial service and celebration of Marie's life at 11 a.m.  The family extends sincere thanks to the staff at Hebron Hall, third floor-east for its loving care.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Bethel Lutheran Church Media Ministry or the Oakwood Foundation.

Above info from our Madison correspondent, Helen Wilson “Willie” Bly.

Antonie, Celestine Joseph > MADISON - Wisconsin State Journal, August 31, 2005

Celestine Joseph Antonie, age 88, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Monday, August 29, 2005, of cancer. Whether you knew him as Cel, CJ, Joe, Tony, Dad or Grandpa, you knew he made this a better place for having been here. Cel was born in Hayes, Kan., on April 30, 1917, to Peter and Caroline (Karlin) Antonie. When he was seven years old, the family sold their farm and moved to Wisconsin, eventually settling in Two Rivers. He graduated from high school as an honor student, acclaimed football and baseball player, and was the first of his family to go on to college, attending the University of Wisconsin. His college career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served as a decorated B-17 navigator, flying 25 missions from North Africa to Italy, Greece, Germany and Bulgaria. While on leave in Two Rivers before going over seas, Cel met and married the love of his life, Betty (Heinrich), and they enjoyed more than 62 years of marriage. After the war, he completed his master's degree and chose to become a science teacher at Madison West High School, much to the delight of the many students over the course of his 30-year career for whom science classes, especially biology, became something to look forward to. As a teacher at West, he also served as a football coach and was the schools first athletic director, combining his love of teaching with his love of sports. Many of his former students stayed in contact with him to let him know that their careers and personal lives were influenced by him. Cel was an avid gardener who always planted more than he needed and relished giving the excess produce away to neighbors, friends or just putting it out by the curb for anyone to take. He loved to cook, once winning a local newspaper recipe contest with a "family favorite" that until then the family had never eaten. However, fishing was his real avocation. As a young man he fashioned his own wooden baits and cherished the Pflueger Supreme reel his young bride surprised him with. In 1964, he started a family tradition of traveling to Red Lake, Ontario, for a yearly fishing trip and celebrated the 40-year anniversary by catching a walleye on the last pass of his last trip in 2004. Cel helped build his family's home, across from Midvale School, in 1952 from plans he drew up. From that home, he was a devoted member of Queen of Peace Church, an active participant in the Westmorland neighborhood, and a favorite neighbor to youngsters who wanted to know more about the bugs they found. He was a wonderful mentor, teaching those around him that compassion and understanding are the keys to strong relationships. Cel will be remembered as a person who had a story or joke for every occasion, often telling a joke in his last days to ease the grief everyone was feeling. He is survived by his wife, Betty; children, Peter (Kristin) of Black Earth, Linda (Wayne) Antonie-Lusk of Madison, Ellen (Michael) Hamm of Seattle, Wash., and Roger (Debra) of Mission Viejo, Calif.; grandchildren, Elizabeth, Carolyn and Patrick Antonie, Brian (Lindsay), Alex and Peter Hofsteen, Ian and Logan Hamrn, and Heather, Laura and Steven Antonie; brothers, Lawrence, Felix (Grace) and Jerome (Eunice) Antonie; sisters, Mary CaIdwell and Sr. Marcia Anionic; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Joseph and Cyril; and sisters, Rose Cretton and Ann Carley. The family wishes to thank the many doctors and nurses who cared for Cel during his last years, HospiceCare of Dane county (Kris, Kelly and Claudia) for easing his pain and helping him on his journey, and "DJ", Cel's special care giver for tender care and loving support in his last days. A Memorial Mass will be held at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 401 S. Owen Drive, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005, with Father Todd Van Natta officiating. Interment will follow at Resurrection Catholic
Cemetery with military honors. Family and friends may call from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, on Friday, Sept. 2, 2005, and from 10 a.m. until the time of service at the church on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to memorials that will be designated at a later date. Cress Funeral & Cremation Service 3610 Speedway Road (608) 238-3434

Sept. 1, 2005

Jim Lund helped Tom Morrow move into a nursing home recently.  Tom has gangrene in his lower back, and is only expected to live about 2 months.  Here's his address, if anyone would like to send him a card: Belmont Nursing Center, 110 Belmont Rd., Madison, WI 53714

The fact that Jim Lund could help Tom move, says Jim is doing better.  He's driving now, and is trying to regain his hearing in one ear.  So, here's hoping things continue to improve for our former basketball player!

Willie got an e-mail from Cindy Barrett Wilson in Florida, and they survived Katrina with only a power outage for 24 hours. So, they are much more fortunate than those in New Orleans and other gulf coast areas.

From the Wisconsin State Journal, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005:

Morrow, Thomas E. MADISON - Thomas E. Morrow, age 69, passed away on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2005. He was born in St. Paul, Minn., on June 26, 1936, the son of Ralph and Elna (Sprague) Morrow. Tom grew up in St. Croix Falls, Wis., moving to Madison when he was 16. He graduated from West High School. Tom worked as a accountant. He was a very dedicated member of Mount Zion Church, he also served on the board of directors for South Madison Coalition of the Elderly and was a member of the Masonic Lodge. Tom loved spending time with his children and grandchildren. He is survived by four daughters, Tracie Sherman, Wendy Kerr, Kelly (Jeff) Bonner and Terri (Paul) Ertz; six grandchildren, Alex, Nicholas, Zoe and Vivian Ertz and Sara and Randy Zais; a brother, J. Paul (Natalie) Morrow; and a sister-in-law, Barbara Morrow. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Bruce. Funeral services will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL HOME, 5203 Monona Drive, on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2005, at 4 p.m., with Rev. Richard Jones presiding. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 3 p.m. until the time of the service on Tuesday. Gunderson East Funeral & Cremation Centers 5203 Monona Drive (608) 221-5420

Our latest author:

Rita Wittich Stout wrote a book about her daughter's battle with leukemia.  Rita writes the following:

"Here's the wonderful part. George Allez did the edit, book cover design and layout and it's a beautiful book. John Bass' company printed the book. I didn't know George in high school but learned from Helen Wilson Bly that he did layout so I called him in early February to ask him for some guidance and he offered to do the layout, etc.  From February to June we worked long distance on edits and changes before I flew to Madison and Middleton to work and stay with George in the home that Bennett Christopherson designed for him. We worked on the final edits and then went to Park Printing to see the first book come off the press."

Wouldn't Mrs. Joyce Steward and the other English teachers at West be proud of this!  Guess Rita got her start in writing in the Madison Schools.  Good job, Rita!


Editorial Reviews:

Book Description
A vivacious, talented young woman develops an acute form of leukemia and dies seven months later, shortly after her twenty-sixth birthday. Her mother and constant companion kept a journal and recorded the roller coaster of emotions experienced as her only child struggled against an almost hopeless fate. Now, a decade later, Rita Stout has written of the tumultuous events that occurred from diagnosis to the end. With astonishing frankness, she shares with the reader the feelings of everyone involved. In an intensely human and humane document, she depicts people at their best and their worst, sparing neither herself nor her beloved daughter in the process. This is an account of how one family coped with the ambiguities of a situation over which they had little control. Anyone who has lost an adult child, or who knows someone who may, will benefit from this heartfelt memoir. They will learn that their feelings are not unique, nor are they alone.

The book, Not So Small A Circle, is $14.00 plus $3.00 shipping charge, and I bet she'd autograph a copy for you.  Drop her a line at: rstout27@comcast.netto work out payment and shipping details.

Medical History:

We have a medical pioneer in the class.  Bobbie Caldwell McClean made medical history in Arizona (she lives in Colorado, but the surgery was done in Arizona), as she writes about her recent shoulder replacement:

“This replacement is a new procedure that came from France about 15 months ago. The doctor had only done this procedure once before mine and that was on a cadaver.  He says it looks like the textbook so hopefully with time and rehab I'll be back to golfing and out of pain soon”.  

Way to go, Bobbie!

Here’s another author:

Ruth Rapoport Stotter has become quite a story teller and author, as shown here.  I sat across from her in speech class, but I think Mrs. McCarty's lessons sunk in better with Ruth than with me.  Congratulations, Ruth!  These sure look like fun books, especially for your grandchildren.  You can order them all on, and Smiles! is also at the University Book Store on State Street in Madison.  If you’d like an autographed copy, contact Ruth at the address below.


Ruth Stotter M.A. is a professional storyteller and educator who has performed and taught workshops on four continents. She is a former  chairperson of the American Folklore Society’s Folk Narrative Section. Ruth served as Director of the Dominican University Storytelling Program 1985-1999. She has an M.A. from Stanford University in Speech Pathology, an M.A. in Storytelling from Sonoma State University, and attended the University of California, Berkeley to obtain lifetime teaching credentials. Ruth has received awards from the National Storytelling Association and the Bay Area Story Telling Association for her status as mentor and contributions to her community through storytelling.  In 1999 she was awarded the Keables Chair of English by Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Ruth served four years on the Aesop Committee, sponsored by the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society, selecting the best children's books based on folklore.  She is the author of You're On!: 101 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills.

Contact information:

Ruth Stotter
2244 Vistazo East
Tiburon, California 94920

Phone 415-435-3568
Fax 415-435-9923

smiles-book Smiles! 101 Stunts, Oohs and Aahs, Puzzles and Magic to Bring a Smile to a Child's Face is chock-full of activities that belong to the folklore tradition and have been handed down by word of mouth for generations. Collected by folklorist/storyteller, Ruth (Rapoport) Stotter, this is an amazing collection of old chestnuts and fun stunts. Learn tricks with a dollar bill, story-activities, how to turn a banana into a talking puppet and dozens of interactive teasing stunts and jokes. A valuable source book for clever tricks to amuse and entertain for adults interacting with children as well as a great gift for kids. Kids will also love showing these stunts to their friends as well as adults

Here are a few of the activities in Smiles!


Want to play Poker?
Something unique
Moving the coin
Illusion: pulling thumb apart
Teleporting finger
Diamond pin
Cup storty
Got your nose
Extra: Circus stunt
Fifty-two card pick-up
Just like me
You broke my hand
"Don't touch the baby" hand stunt


Hole in your hand
Dreamy song
Would like a microwave?
The bus driver
Straw snake

Coin in a hole
Changing the color of a flower
Make George Washington frown and smile
Linking paper clip trick
George up and down
String through the neck


Toothpick puzzle
Extra: Another toothpick puzzle
Mind reading
Arithmatic stunt


Dollar bill butterfly
Flexible paper doll
Pop-up greeting card


Hand shadow story
Red house with a star
Telling your life stories
Reading a good book


Prized photos

You're On!

Designed for both beginning and experienced speakers, You're On!: 101 Tips to improve Your Public Speaking Skills provides creative and practical tips to help write and deliver oral presentations. Tips include how to add humor, suspense, the pause, repetition, getting audience participation, rehearsing, handling stage fright, using a microphone, and more. Stotter believes in the power of incorporating stories into speeches, and the book illustrates this by including mini-stories related to the speaking suggestions. A review in Storyline newsletter said that if you replaced "public speaking" with "storytelling" the book is completely applicable for preparing and presenting storytelling  programs.

You’re On! is available on


The Golden Axe is an unusual anthology - a collection of the same folktale from thirty-three different countries. The texts are accompanied with interpretive notes. Teachers will appreciate the reader's theatre/puppet scripts, charts of protagonists, animals, foods, countries, and a classroom game related to the story.
The Golden Axe is available on

Here are some of the titles in The Golden Axe

I. Tips on Telling These Stories

II. Stories with story notes and key motifs
The Golden Axe (Greece)
The Rooster and the Hen (Albania)
The Three Little Men in the Woods (Germany)
The Sparrow's Gift (Japan)
The Two Brothers (Micronesia)
Humility Rewarded and Pride Punished (Bengal, India)
The String of Beads (Congo, Africa
The Gift of the Mermaid (Celtic, Brittany)
The Three Girls and the Journey-Cakes (Appalachia, United States)
The Corpse Watchers (Wexford, Ireland)
The Three Heads of the Well  (England)
The Two Stepsisters (Norway)
The Talking Eggs (Creole, United States)
Diamonds and Toads (France)
The Girls and the Hogs (Mushkogean, American Indian)
House of Cats (Milan, Italy)
Blindman's Bluff (Russia)
The Blind Beggar (Iceland)

III. Summaries of Additional Texts
The Snake Chief
How the Good Gifts were Used by Two (Austria)
The Three Mermaids (Brittany)
The Four Little Dwarfs (Chile)
The Man Who Cuts Down the Cinnamon Tree (China)
The Old Witch (England )
The Two Rich Girls (Eskimo)
Mother of the Waters (Haiti)
Water in the Basket (Italy)
The Tale of the Cats (Italy)
The Sparrow's Gifts (Japan)
Old Man of the Flowers (Japan)
The Hearth Cat (Portugal)
The Girl and the Dead Man (Scotland)

Ruth also writes "Incidentally, a gorgeous new book just came out: The Gruesome Guide to World Monsters by Judy Sierra and she dedicated it to Larry and Ruth Stotter. (A dubious honor? And I am forwarding a happy picture that just got posted on the web, taking a jewelry class. Larry and I have just taken up competitive croquet - our handicap is 20! - and so I made a silver croquet mallet pendant."

jewlry_class croquet_mallet

Our Third Author

Dancer, author, educator:

Dance artist, educator, and historian Claudia (Schroeder) Gitelman is a veteran of the concert stage and Broadway. She was on the faculty of the Nikolais/Louis Dance Theatre Lab in New York City over a period of twenty-four years and a guest teacher and performer in universities and dance centers on four continents. She is the author of articles in encyclopedia and dance journals, and of two books, Dancing withPrinciple: Hanya Holm in Colorado, 1941-1983 (University of Colorado Press, 2001), and Liebe Hanya: Mary Wigman’s Letters to Hanya Holm (Wisconsin University Press, 2003). A co-edited volume of essays about choreographer, composer, and stage designer Alwin Nikolais is now under review at Wesleyan University Press. Gitelman is Professor Emerita at Rutgers University. Claudia is the widow of economist Howard Gitelman; their three daughters pursue careers in academia - Media Studies and Statistics - and in Urban Planning.


Dancing With Principle: Hanya Holm in Colorado, 1941–1983

We all know Claudia Gitelman as an immaculate scholar, and her book, Dancing With Principle, Hanya Holm in Colorado, 1941-1983, proves us right.  However, along with facts she gives us a lot of reminiscent fun.  Along with where, how, why, what, and when, she tells about much about “who,” and most of them we all know.

The years she covers are the years of the coming of age of American Modern Dance, reminding us of the aesthetic debt we owe to Hanya.  There are so many hidden goodies regarding movement and aesthetic philosophy that I became reacquainted the energy, drive and purpose that I knew as Hanya.   — Ruth Grauert


Liebe Hanya
Mary Wigman's Letters to Hanya Holm
Compiled and edited by Claudia Gitelman
Introduction by Hedwig Müller
Letters translated by Marianne Forster and Catherine T. Klingler

Studies in Dance History, a series of the Society of Dance History Scholars

Revealing letters about modern dance in Germany and the United States, and a friendship tested by heartbreak, fascism, war, and politics


Claudia performing Hanya Holm's Homage to Mahler. Holm set Gustav Mahler's poignant Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children) in 1976 with Claudia as soloist. photo by Norman Ader.

Habitat for Humanity

John Snell and Mark Weavers put in some days working with the 3M Retirees on a Habitat for Humanity project.  The group is building two duplexes (that’s four houses) this year, keeping up a tradition that is now in its tenth year.  We have over 100 volunteers working during August and September, and then a smaller group working the rest of the year on the houses.  Over the ten years, the group has built 22 houses and rehabed about 100 more.  Here are some pictures of this year’s project:


3M retirees built the duplex on the left.


Mark biting his nails


John is on the left.


Letter from Patty Searles Miller: (she goes by Patty now)

Dear Sue and Phil,

So: here I am in Dallas, Oregon, in a small town of about 14,000, west of Salem, the State Capitol.  I am a member of the City Planning Commission and a volunteer for the Police Department.  I switched loyalty from fire to police when I moved here, because the arthritis in my hands was making “finger tight” for everybody else “get a hydrant wrench” for me.  My current assignment from the Assistant Chief of Police, my kitty-corner-across-the-street neighbor and friend, is to research and write a history of the Dallas Police Department.  Deciding that “the police did this and then they did that” was going to be really boring, I decided to include context, material about what else was going on in town each year.  This is a long, slow process but is lots of fun to do.  Tom (my aforementioned neighbor) tells me that the material, or parts of it, will go onto the department’s web page.  My working title: Cops and Citizens: A History of the Dallas, Oregon Police Department and the People it Serves.  I can see at least two more years’ work to get it done.  Meanwhile, I have been adopted by the folks at the local weekly newspaper, my starting research source.  It’s always nice to make new friends.


Bob, my husband, died in 2001of metastatic prostate cancer in the lungs.  He beat the cancer for fourteen years, and we had a lot of fun during those years.  When he died, he went quickly.  The doctor had told him he had four to six months; he died in two.  He was at home except for the last ten days, when he was in the hospice room at a nursing home less than a mile away.  I was there with him when he died.  The whole family misses him and always will, but at least we had the pleasure of knowing him for a long time.  I can’t think of anybody who knew him who didn’t like him; Bob was a very charming man.

Melinda Leasure (step) daughter is a staff artist at the company that makes “King of the Hill”.  She has an Emmy and sent me a copy of her certificate, which I’ve framed and put on the living room wall.  Her husband Frank is also in the movie and TV industry; if it says “Star Trek” on it, he probably built sets or made props for it, along with several other movies and TV shows.

Dan Miller (step) son and wife Flower are in the computer industry.  He is Vice-President of Engineering in a company that makes equipment that test microchips, and she is the office manager.

Katherine McShea (daughter) is an Emergency Room nurse.  Husband James is a Chief Petty Officer and Independently Deployed Corpsman in the Navy, currently stationed with a Marine group in Fellujah, Iraq

One granddaughter (Kat’s) and two honorary great-granddaughters (Flower’s granddaughters from a previous marriage.)

I now share my house with a pair of Pembroke Welsh Corgis, a pair of screwball dogs who probably caught their silly behavior from me.  Well, not all of it: I never run up and down the hall barking, and Chelsea does.  Bomber is too dignified to do that.  He just barks at me when I’m eating something that he wants some of.  We’ve had discussions about that behavior, but they don’t seem to stick in his mind.  Actually, I think he knows and just wants to bark at me anyhow.

Rita Wittich and I were in the same potluck at West and kind of hung out together for our first year at the University.  I remember sitting with her in a near-blizzard at a home football game.  I don’t remember who won, but neither of us lost: we didn’t catch colds.  We had gotten very lucky by then.  Our original seats were down about the 30 yard line.  One of my ILS friends was complaining that he and a buddy of his had been given seats in the card section, and that they both hated it.  They were both veterans and probably a little too old for card section stuff.  Anyhow, they were happy to trade us their seats for our, and we didn’t mind being in the card section whose seats were on the 50-yard line.

There.  Now you know where I am and all about me.  I was sorry to miss the 50th reunion but had to go to a meeting associated with my membership on the Planning Commission.

Oh, yes: for some reason I’ve picked up a new nickname.  I’m no longer Pat but am now Patty (or “Hey, You!).

Patty (Searles) Miller

537 S.W. Augustus Drive, Dallas, OR 97338

1 September 2005

Gwyn Fair Ellis's mother's, obituary from The Wisconsin State Journal, July 7, 2005.

Fair, Dorothy Taylor PEORIA,
ARIZ. - Dorothy Taylor Fair of Peoria, Arizona (formerly Sun City, Ariz., and Shorewood Hills) died on Tuesday, July 5, 2005. She was born on Nov. 20, 1905, in Dickinson County, Kan. Her parents were C. Willett Taylor and Bertha Perring Taylor. Prior to moving to Arizona in 1976, Dorothy lived in Shorewood Hills. She was an active member of the First Congregational Church, the Garden Club and the Delta Zeta Alumnae group. Dorothy graduated Cum Laude from the University of Kansas in 1927. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Zeta sorority and the Jay Janes. After graduation and before her marriage in 1929, Dorothy taught at Abilene High School, Kansas and York College, Nebraska. While in Sun City, Dorothy played Marathon Bridge at Church of the Palms, was an enthusiastic and productive member of the clay club and enjoyed gardening, sewing, swimming and reading. She moved to the Forum at Desert Harbor in 1995 and was active in the scholarship committee, drama club, and as resident counselor. Survivors include a daughter, Gwyneth Fair Ellis (husband, Willis) of Albuquerque, N.M.; a son, Willett Taylor Fair (wife, Jeanine) of Prairie du Sac; three grandchildren, Kevin Saylors, Eric Fair (wife, Norma) and Kristen Fair Knox (husband, Tom); two great-grandchildren, Isabella Marie Fair and Taylor Jean Knox; a niece; and three nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Harold Dean Fair; and her four sisters, Bernice Taylor, Marjorie Taylor Rock, Wilma Taylor Peters and Jean Taylor Marshall. A private family memorial service will be held. Internment will be at Garden of Urns, Madison. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials to Church of the Palms, 14808 Boswell Blvd. Sun City, AZ 86351-1902 or the Habitat for Humanity, 14309 N. 5th Ave., El Mirage, AZ 85335-3148. Her friends at the forum will miss her cheerful optimism and her jokes. Her family will miss the inspiration and love she gave them through their entire lives.

Jim Thompson, from The Wisconsin State Journal, Oct. 30, 2005

Thompson, James M. "Jim", MADISON
- James M. "Jim" Thompson, age 70, passed away on Friday, Oct. 28, 2005, at The Willows, after an extended illness. Jim was born on Sept. 10, 1935, in Black River Falls, to A. MacClure and Elizabeth (Rothermel) Thompson. They preceded him in death. Jim attended Madison public schools and graduated from Madison West High School in 1954. He attended UW-Platteville for one year, then graduated from Madison Business College in 1961. Jim worked for a time for Sycom, formerly Professional Budget Plan, and several other local businesses. He served for several years in the U.S. Army Reserves. Jim really enjoyed participating in barbershop quartet singing, square dancing, camping, water sports, the Green Bay Packers, UW Badgers, and his chocolate lab, Choco. He is survived by his three children, David (Cindy) Thompson of Woodbridge, Va., Paul Thompson of Hot Springs Village, Ark., and Julie McManamy of Sun Prairie; six grandchildren; a niece; and several cousins. Besides his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his brother, William L. Thompson. A memorial gathering will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL HOME, 5203 Monona Drive from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005. Memorials may be made in Jim's name to WAGS Inc., 1338 Dewey Court, Madison, WI 53703. This is an organization that trains dogs to assist the physically disabled. The family wishes to thank the staff at The Willows for all their support and tender loving care. Gunderson East Funeral & Cremation Centers 5203 Monona Drive (608) 221-5420.

A Harrowing Experience: Cindy Barrett Wilson and her husband, Bruce, were in their house when Hurricane Wilma hit them in Tamarac (Ft. Lauderdale area) FL. She writes the following: Nov. 10, 2005 In the front of our house, you can see just how closely the trees fell to our Prius! In the back, the pic with the corner of the house was taken before we opened our hurricane shutters, and I found it interesting to see the Malibu lights all blown down in the same direction and a few lost altogether. The trees, there were two, were on the golf course, but we had them removed from our property and gave them back to the golf course in pieces. The one that landed on our deck roof actually saved our house roof from being breached and creating a hole in our bedroom. I'll e-mail you some pics of the actual tree removal which was trickier than merely sawing the tree apart as it landed. We actually caught the brunt of the storm as the eye passed over our area. A very frightening experience, and one I don't wish to repeat. The wind came from the southwest across the golf course right toward the back of the house. That's when the trees blew down. They estimated the winds at 100 - 110 MPH at the eye. Then, after the eye passed, the winds shifted to the northeast and knocked down whatever had been weakened the first blow. I guess that's when the Malibu lights blew, as well as the rest of the leaves off the bushes and trees left standing. It is an eerie sight to see the normally lush landscape now virtually barren. The worst damage in our neighborhood was to a house where the back porch roof blew off and over to the front of the house, landed on the four cars parked in the driveway, smashing two of them and damaging the other two quite badly. So, they also suffered holes in the living rooms and bedrooms -- lots of water damage. Our next door neighbors lost their screen pool enclosure, as did almost everyone. We are slowly recovering as power is restored to homes and then to traffic signals. Many intersections simply don't have any signals at all, let alone ones that work. So, they are installing portable traffic poles run on generators at major intersections. People have stolen two generators already. Our power was restored eight days later, and cable TV came on today. Stores are stocking up on frozen and fresh items, and restaurants are opening again. They estimate it will be Feb. before all signals are up and running. We're just happy to be alive and well, and the last one we'll ever see happen. Cindy


Near miss on the Prius

malibu lights

Malibu lights lined up at dress right dress


Ouch on the patio


More ouch


Away it goes.


It’s a Small World: November 2005

John Snell worked with Don Caldwell for 30 years before learning that Don and Bobbie Caldwell McClean are first cousins. Not only that, but John and Don were neighbors in Lake Elmo, MN. Bobbie and Jeanie Snell discovered that at the 43

Jayne Ann Paugh Pelton and John Snell discovered that Jayne Ann’s husband, Glen, and John are third cousins. Their common ancestors, Samuel G. Pelton and Matilda Kelly moved to Fond du Lac County, WI between 1840 and 1850. Next time you see Jayne Ann, compliment her on her choice in men. She married into a good family!

Gwyn Fair Ellis and Joe Irwin own vacation property within 15 miles of each other in CO. Gwyn on Lake Dillon and Joe at Breckinridge. Gwyn enjoys boating on Lake Dillon and Joe enjoys skiing in the winter and fly fishing in the summer. Anybody else in our class still skiing?

Thrive Foundation for Youth, Dottie Jones King

This story starts when Dottie was about 10 years old, and her parents began hosting foreign students studying at the University of Wisconsin. She developed an interest in foreign cultures, and passed that along to her children as they were growing up, but this time working through the Bechtel International House on the Stanford University Campus. So, now they all share this interest.

The story develops further when Dottie, along with Sue Edgerton, worked at the Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport, ME during the summer following graduation from High School. Dottie also worked there the next summer, but this time with Barbie Rieman. Someplace along the way at the Colony, Dottie met Bob King, and as they say "things moved forward from there".

Thrive Foundation for Youth works with youth leaders around the world to provide a positive environment for youth as they grow up. Some of the groups that they work with are the Positive Coaching Alliance of Stanford University, the Stanford Center on Adolescence, and the Search Institute of Minneapolis, MN. You can check these out at their websites:

To follow the progress of Thrive Foundation for Youth, visit you click on the pages "Strategy", "History and Experience", "What We Believe About Youth", and "Who We Are", you will think about Coach Jones.

To fund Thrive, they drew on Bob’s experience in investments. He started on Wall Street, but moved into investments in California, where they have lived since getting married. During the course of his investment career, he became interested in a Chinese pharmaceutical company, and helped sponsor that company in China. That investment didn’t work out, but during one of his visits there, he met the founders of Baidu, a Chinese internet search engine. After about 5 years of work by Bob, Baidu went public on the NASDAQ exchange in August, 2005. So, quite an accomplishment! To learn about BAIDU, go to look at the pages "Business Overview"Products", "Management". "Board of Directors", and "Corporate Governance". You will see lots of interesting icons and pictures. If you want to follow Baidu, the ticker symbol is BIDU and you can follow it on yahooquotes at Maybe we should all invest in BAIDU! Just remember you heard about it here! We’ll all be pulling for Baidu and Thrive.


The whole Thrive crew: Bob and Dottie plus their children and their families.


How’s that for the bright lights? Who would have thought in 1954 that a member of our class would be involved in listing a Chinese Internet company on a U.S. stock exchange!! Boy, how the world has changed!


The Colony Hotel


Fun on the waterfront

Mr. Burgess (Earth Sciences Teacher) Wisconsin State Journal, Nov. 18, 2005

Burgess, Gordon MADISON - Gordon Burgess, age 89, died at home on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005. He was born April 16, 1916, in Racine, the son of Earl and Edith (Gurney) Burgess. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1941 and taught school at Eagle River, West High School, East High, La Follette and Schenk in Madison. Following retirement from teaching, he managed Orchard Valley Apartments and Jamestown Newbury Bay. He was a member of Asbury United Methodist Church. Gordon also volunteered at the Red Cross and for RSVP. He is survived by his wife, Charline; daughters, Jeanne (John) Morledge and Carolyn (Daniel) Zugarramurdi; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his sister, Margery (Orville) Jensen. A Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005, at 11 a.m. at ASBURY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 6101 University Ave., Madison, WI 53705, with the Rev. Gary Holmes officiating. There will be a visitation from 10 a.m. until the time of service at church on Wednesday. The family requests in lieu of flowers, memorials to Asbury United Methodist Church. Cress Funeral & Cremation Service 6021 University Ave. (608) 238-8406

Can you believe it? Our class has 4 published authors! Quite a tribute to the English Department at West High School. Here are two from Judy Bruce Nyhus:


There seems to be a pattern among our friends.

It goes like this:

One week vacation in Florida,

Two week vacation in Florida,

One month stay in Florida looking

for a favorite place for next year,

Three month stay in Florida

considering a winter get-a-way,

Six month stay in Florida,

becoming a snow bird.

Wow! It feels like home!

I’ve learned Floridians are not at all interested in where I’m from.

I am to call home "Up North" even if it’s back east or out west,

"Up North" seems to be a geographical dot on some map

Fun: It’s there for the taking.

Having fun never stops.

If your fun takes all day, it takes all day.

Book Description: With a cheerful pen, a new Floridian reveals some of the oddities of the south she has come to know and love.

Judy retired from a career as a tour planner and guide in Evelth, MN, and now spends the winters in Florida.

Lots of other entertaining recollections about snowbirds plus a few enticing Florida recipes. Judy and her fellow art students in FL did the art work. So, she’s an artist as well as a writer!

I think Judy is an enthusiastic snowbird, what do you think? This is a fun book, even if you don’t plan to own property in Florida. All of our classmates would get a kick out of it.

Here’s Judy’s latest, a book for children. Illustrations by Judy's art teacher, Peg Cullen.

happy_quacky_lucky_duck sad_clerk

The clerk was crabby and

didn't care

That a funny-faced duck

was there for a chair.


But Quacky remembered

that feeling inside;

He smiled at the clerk.

He really tried.


When the clerk saw him smile,

He felt rather strange.

His heart tingled,

And his own face changed


Quacky saw the clerk's face

and he saw him beam

When he smiled like that,

He didn't look mean.


Both books can be ordered by e-mail: or you can contact Judy directly at

and "On Florida Time" can also be ordered on Amazon., or at

Judy writes that she was spared the wrath of Hurricane Wilma, as it missed Pine Island, where she lives. She did get some damage last year when Hurricane Charlie hit the Ft. Myers area. So, good luck this year, and we’ll hope it holds in the future.

John Bass

This is a tough one, since JB probably did the most of anyone for our class over the years, from hosting reunions, publishing directories, etc.

From the Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 26, 2006:

Bass, John A. VERONA - John A.

John Bass, age 69, died on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006. He was born in Reedsburg on Feb. 21, 1936, to Roger Graydon Bass and Alva Nora Anderson. He graduated from Madison West High School in 1954. He enrolled at UW-Madison and joined the Naval Reserve. To take advantage of the GI Bill, he joined the Navy after one semester at the UW. He went through boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and served as the education petty officer of his company. Due to his efforts, his company was named a Hall of Fame company. After boot camp he went through communications school in San Diego and his rate was Communications Technician. He then shipped out to Adak, Alaska, a desolate island out in the Aleutian Islands chain. He spent his time near the naval base at a National Security Agency building monitoring Soviet Navy communications and movements. After a year of service on "the Rock," he was transferred to Washington, D.C. where he finished out his enlistment. He was very disappointed that he never served at sea. After his discharge, he re-entered UW-Madison and received a B.S. in economics in 1961. While at the university, he marched with the UW Band under Ray Dvorak, playing the double-belled euphonium and was a life long member of the band alumni. In June 1962, John married Jean Dudley and they honeymooned in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, a place he and Jean dearly love. After graduation he joined Wilbur Dudley's advertising agency where he decided they could more economically print their media in-house. With excess printing capacity, he solicited other printing business, transforming the business into the commercial printing company now known as Park Printing House, Ltd. The printing company was his life-long passion. John had a passion for life and had many interests. He acquired old cars, mostly Model A's, and enjoyed tinkering with them. One year he drove a Model A to the Grand Tetons and back without mishap. He also collected and restored old Farmall tractors. He built a barn (similar to the famous Mormon Row barn in the Tetons) and used it to store his tractors and hay for Jean's sheep. He also hosted two of his class reunions in the barn. He spent two years restoring an old wooden Chicago & North Western caboose that was built in 1915. His conductor grandfather, father, and brother may have all spent some time riding in that caboose so it was very meaningful to him. John was an ardent supporter of the UW Marching Band all his life, supporting their fundraising efforts and helping with the Varsity Band Spring Concert. He enjoyed watching the band practice and knew many of the staff and kids. His love of the Navy never diminished and he supported it in many ways. He was a proud member of the Navy League. In the 90s, one dream came true; he made two short cruises in the Pacific on the super carrier USS Kitty Hawk CV-63. He never imagined such a thing could happen and it was one of the important events in his life. He was also invited to spend a day cruise on the Great Lakes aboard the frigate USS Oliver Hazard Perry FFG-7 and was a guest at the change of command ceremony. John had a wide circle of friends and was involved in too many things to mention here. He always had something going. He had a great trip through life and took a lot of people along for the ride. He is survived by his wife, Jean Dudley Bass; their two children, Roger (Rebecca) Bass and Amy (Chris) Armstrong; and three wonderful grandchildren, Sam Bass, and Molly and Bailey Armstrong. He is also survived by six brothers and sisters, Patricia (Jerry) Edgar of West Bend and their children, James, Jane, Jay, Jennifer, Jerry, John, and Julie, Roberta Stockton of New Berlin and her children, Linda, Louise, Mark and Michael, Charles (Linda) Bass of Johnson Creek and their children David, Dianna and Lisa, Jerry (Kay) Bass of Verona and their children, Julie and Tom, Tom (Debbie Dudley) Bass of Verona and their children, Greg and John, and Christine (David) Kilps of Verona and their children, Andrew, Laura and Tom. He is preceded in death by his mother and father; nephew, Jeffrey Dudley Bass; and brother-in-law, Richard Stockton. A celebration of John's life will be held at SALEM UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST on Saturday, March 11, 2006, at 11 a.m. Memorials may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Wisconsin Chapter or the University of Wisconsin Foundation Marching Band Scholarship Fund. Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services Verona Chapel 118 N. Franklin St. (608) 845-6625

Thanks to JoAnn Seamonson Davidson for the following, from the visitation on Feb. 15, 2006:

john_bass_sousaphone john_bass_donations obit_photo

John played the euphonium (baritone) but is seen here having some fun with the sousaphone.

John died after complications from surgery, which he had had on his carotid artery.

Update on the memorial service, from Helen Wilson Bly ("Willie"):

Hi John--I will tell you the ones that I saw: Jim & Louise Lund, Marlene & John Olson, Cindy & Bruce Wilson, Joanne & Lloyd Davidson, Bill & Severa Breuch, Sally Lavik, Edie Anderson, Ian & Karen Smith, Dick Kraemer, Tom Gaumnitz, Al Briggs, Jane Rodenfels, Alice White and her two sons, George Allez and Dick & Linda Hartwig.  There could have been more that I didn't see as the Church was packed.  24 of the UW and Alumni Band members played several songs (and just about blew the roof of).  If ever there was a Memorial Service that celebrated someone's life, that was it!  I know JB was watching us.

Dick Hartwig writes:

The memorial service was amazing. Lynda and I and my brother Bob and his wife went from our family. There were about 250 people at the church for the service and the lunch, including about 80 members of the extended family and probably 20 of our high school class mates.

John had played various instruments as a one man band over the years and the ceremony included an audio tape of John playing multiple instruments of a hymn Just a Closer Walk with Thee in about 7 versions including polka (accordion) jazz (trumpet) rock (keyboards), etc.  It was an absolute celebratory delight.

The UW Alumni band sent 15 musicians including a couple of family members, the Director and several current students to play and they played and we sang On Wisconsin and Varsity and the Navy Hymn.  We also cheered and cried too.

JB's Dad had been a train engineer and John had bought the caboose and rehabbed it so the caboose was the theme of the sermon. The minister really put some time and effort into it. The lunch was all home cooked food from
the church members with lots and lots of ladies doing lots and lots of work.

There was a fine video of JB's whole life that was played throughout the lunch.

We all had a great time and it was wonderful. This was what a memorial service should be.  I am sure JB is pleased.

Classmates went to the Final  Quarter afterwards but we did not go because we had a commitment with some of Lynda's friends for the afternoon/evening.  I did talk to Ian Smith, Dick Kraemer, Al Briggs, Tom Gaumnitz, JoAnne Seamanson, Cindy Barrett, Alice Ragatz, Bill Breuch, Marlene Bakken and Helen Wilson.  I remember seeing that Don and Jill Cook were on the sign in sheet--and some others who I cannot recall.

From the Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 26, 2006:

Audrey Elenore Hobbins "Muff Forester" died Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006. Muff was born in Madison on March 28, 1937. She attended Randall and Edgewood Schools and graduated from West High School in 1954. She was a 1959 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She was a life long sailor on Lake Mendota and a champion of the E-boat fleet. She and her family were long time residents of Maple Bluff. She spent nine years in Wauwatosa and 22 years in Brookfield where she found great passion in gardening. She was an Elmbrook Hospital volunteer, a WCTC graduate in Surgical Technology and a surgical technician for 13 years at St. Michael's Hospital. In 1990, she moved to St. Thomas, USVI, where she lived her dream of owning a chartered sailing business, "The Rag-a-Muffin." Interrupted by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995, she lost her home and boat and had to move to the mainland. She chose Venice, Fla. where she started and ran her nursery landscaping business until 2003. She was a descendent of Dr. William Hobbins, who came to Madison in 1853. She was a member of the Bell Chapter of the DAR (Daughter's of American Revolution). Survivors include her loving companion, Bob Laurine of Venice, Fla.; her dear children, James Hobbins Forester of Hartland, Wis., William Hobbins Forester of Chicago, Ill., John Richard Forester of Glencoe, Ill. and Abby Lynne Forester Bamba of Milwaukee; her brothers, Dr. William Hobbins of Madison and Edmund Hobbins of Bluffton, S.C.; and seven grandchildren, Jameson, Mallory, Beau, Tiffany, Dillon, Paige and Tasi. A memorial celebration will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, 2006, at the VENICE CLUB in Brookfield, Wis. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Muff's memory to WCTC Foundation, 800 Main St., Pewaukee, WI 53072.

Play Ball !

I wasn’t good enough to make the high school team of ’54, but I was good enough to make the Minnesota Twins Fantasy team of 2006.  The camp was Jan. 14-22, in Fort Myers, FL, at the Twins spring training facility.  It was a true fantasy!  A Major Leaguer for 8 days, with Bert Blyleven and Al Newman as my coaches!   Here are some pictures:


Blenidng in with the pros.


On deck


Base Hit?

Peter Mortenson recently received an award for his work in advertising over the last many years.

Congratulations, Pete!

From the Capital Times of Feb. 24, 2006:

ON SATURDAY, longtime Madison advertising man Peter Mortenson, whom I first met 40-plus years ago when he worked with my dad at WKOW-TV/Channel 27, will receive the Silver Medal from the Madison Advertising Federation.

The award will be presented during the federation’s annual ADDY awards show at Monona Terrace. Prior to the ADDYs, there will be a reception for Peter, with the public invited, at the Hilton Capitol Club room from 4 to 6 p.m. The Silver Medal is a career achievement award that recognizes creative ability and contribution to the general advancement of advertising. Mortenson, who spent the last 17 years of his career (before retiring in 2001) with Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, is a most worthy recipient.

Alice Ragatz White, 5/10/2006:

I recently went to Canada for genealogy research (my dad was Canadian) and visited Alice Ragatz.White in Mississauga (Toronto area). She cooked meals for me, and I helped on some home repairs and yard work. Great time, talking about West High and Madison! Here are some pictures:

           Alice and John in front of her house
john_and_alice_chinese_dinner                      Chinese dinner; yum! alice_waltz Alice waltzing with her instructor Carlos Lourenco

July, 2006. Cindy Barrett Wilson has moved back to Middleton! Great to have you back. See the classmate contackts page for her address, phone number and e-mail address

Another classmate get-together: John and Jeanie Snell had Dolores Wiese Coyle and husband John over to their cabin near Three Lakes, WI for supper on July 6, 2006. Dolores and John live in nearby Rhinelander. Great conversation about West High and Madison. Here are two pictures:

delores_wiese_lake_julia John, Jeanie, Dolores, John delores_wiese_boat The motor wasn't working, so we had to resort to human power, but we were kind to the environment.

Dolores and John Coyle celebrated their 50 year wedding anniversary on June 24. They were married May 12, 1956 in Saint James Church, Madison.

Here are a couple of pictures:


A handsome couple. Congratulations, Dolores and John!

Helen Wilson Bly and husband Jim were recognized for their volunteer work. Here’s the article from the Wisconsin State Journal:

Know Your Madisonians: Jim And Helen Bly Wisconsin State Journal.

Sunday, July 16, 2006
Interviewed by Phil Brinkman

Name: Jim and Helen Bly

City: Madison

Family: One daughter, 48; two sons, 45 and 43; four grandchildren: 21, 18, 14, and 2.

Occupation: Jim is a retired carpenter; Helen is a retired tour planner. Both have been longtime volunteers at HospiceCare, St. Mary's Hospital and the Vilas Zoo. Jim also goes to Florida or the Bahamas every year to work with dolphins and regularly speaks with schoolchildren about them.

Hobbies: For Jim, it's the dolphins; Helen knits and does other crafts.

How we ended up doing what we do: Jim started volunteering at HospiceCare 12 years ago after he lost a friend to cancer and wanted to help others facing the same thing. Helen started working there 6 years ago after seeing how much Jim got out of it.

Through a friend, Helen started volunteering at St. Mary's 26 years ago, working in various capacities, and eventually "volunteered" Jim.

But it was Jim's "workaholic" schedule that led him to start working with dolphins. One day he heard about "dolphin therapy," the sense of well being that comes from spending time with dolphins, and went to Florida to try it out. After he got back, he read a book, the first time in years he'd taken the time to do that.

But soon enough, work started getting in the way again.

"After his second time down there he had learned to relax" and the endearing animals became a part of their lives, Helen said.

Why is what you do important? Volunteering at HospiceCare has allowed them to meet many people they say they never would have met under other circumstances. "These people have taught us how to live," Helen said. Jim currently works in respite care, sitting with patients to give their caregivers time off; Helen works with family support groups.

"You can express empathy for someone, but these people actually know how it feels to lose a loved one," she said. "It's just an awesome experience to see them open up and know the feelings they have are OK. Strangely enough one of the feelings you have when you lose a loved one is anger."

At the zoo, introducing children to animals they normally would never get a chance to see up close makes a lasting impression on them about the things they can do to protect their habitats, Helen said.

Greatest Madison pleasure: Vilas Zoo.

If we could change one thing about Madison, it would be: The high cost of living for retirees.

One choice of dinner companion, living or dead: For Jim, it's Helen. For Helen, it would be "one last dinner with my mom and dad."

What we're reading: Jim: "The Right Words at The Right Time" by Marlo Thomas. Helen said she's been too busy lately knitting prayer shawls for St. Mary's to do much reading. (Maybe it's time to go see the dolphins?)

Ideal vacation: Ireland. They went there two years ago and plan to return next year for their 50th wedding anniversary. "It's all about the people," Helen said, adding "the people in Ireland still like us (Americans)."

Word or phrase we wish we never had to hear again: "I'd volunteer my time, but . . ."

Great work, Willie and Jim!

September 10, 2006: I visited Nancy Hartwell Reinbeau and husband Dan recently on the way to my cabin. They live on a real nice hobby farm near Bruce and Ladysmith, Wisconsin. Here are some pictures:

nancy_hartwell_house nancy_hartwell_flowers

Nancy and Dan’s house.  Dan built the addition onto the house (at the right) and has it decorated in a football motif, with emphasis on the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Nancy has her own Minnesota Vikings room, so I guess they’re friendly rivals.  They attend several Vikings games in Minneapolis each year.  She’s still a Badger fan, though.

Nancy’s flower garden, complete with Koi fish in the pond.


Nancy with her miniature horses. The grandchildren like to ride them.


Some of her many goats.

Janice Tande Gaumnitz, Oct. 24, 2006


Janice Tande Gaumnitz, the girl that painted the picture that was given as a favor at our 50th reunion party (see the 50th reunion page), does a lot more than paint pictures.  She’s truly a multi-media artist.  

Jan was born in New Ulm, Minnesota, and moved to Madison’s East side for first grade.  She moved to Owen Drive and entered Dudgeon School in 3rd grade, where I remember she first showed her artistic talents.  There had been two rooms for each grade through fifth grade, but there could be only one room for sixth grade.  So, half the grade was transferred to Randall, and Jan was in that group.  Then it was on to  West Junior and Senior High School, which you should all remember.  Nice work, Jan!

I did a google search on Jan Gaumnitz and got 480 hits, each with many pictures of her work.  Wow!  Here are a few websites to check out.  You’ll enjoy looking at all the pictures.  Wouldn’t Miss Bauman be proud of her!

Here are some pictures from Gaumnitz.htm and

prairie_spring ode_to_the_sun
eternal_spring the_guardian

The last one is a welded aluminum sculpture, inspired by Jan's Norwegian heritage and her interest in Viking culture.

Fun Run, October 28, 2006

Sue Edgerton Sell, husband Jack, and John Snell took a fun run around Lake Harriet (3.5 miles).  Here are some pictures:


Lake Harriet, one of several interconnected, urban lakes in Minneapolis, “City of Lakes”.  Sue and Jack live 1 ½ blocks from this sign.


Class of ‘54 track team, 2006 release. If any other classmates are still running, let me know and I’ll mention you here.  Better yet, send me a picture.


One 70 year old and two almost 70 year old bods on the move.


Minneapolis skyline in the distance.

In the Minneapolis public school system, she works with Spanish speaking children.  Since she speaks both Spanish and English, she can help the youngest children learn better.  When the children get a little older, they make the transition to English only instruction, but at first they learn better by having a person with both language skills.

Sue is active with the League of Women Voters by registering new citizens as voters and helping deliver election information door to door.

She is chair of an Interfaith Dialog Program bringing people from the Jewish, Moslem and Christian communities together for education and dialogue.

With a daughter and grandchildren living in Guatemala, she’s visited the country several times, spending time in a sister community to her church (a squatter community on the outskirts of Guatemala City), and has hosted several Guatemalan visitors to Minneapolis.

She’s on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Memorial Union in Madison.  Always a loyal Badger!

Jack is still working full time, counseling owners, presidents and CEOs of small to medium size companies.  He has several clients in diversified industries, including manufacturing, service, and non-profit organizations.  He says he’s having fun and is still in good health, so why not keep going? 

The Sells have four children, one in London, one in Guatemala City, and two in Northern California.  These are wonderful places for Jack and Sue to visit, and the kids with spouses and grandchildren (7 last year) come home to Minnesota for a week in the summer.  Last year the family rented a house for 15 on Deer Lake, Minnesota.  Sounds like fun!

Nice going, to both of you.

December 11, 2006

Nancy Hartwell Reinbeau's husband, Dan, died on November 15, 2006.  Dan had had a heart condition for many years, but was unable to come out of the surgery associated with this last bout.  Nancy plans to sell her Wisconsin property and move to the Columbus, Ohio area to be near her two sons, Jim and Mark, and their families.  Our class extends its sympathy to Nancy. and wishes her the best in her new life in Ohio.

Be sure to come back for the next reunion, Nancy.

December, 2006:

Jeanie Snell, wife of John Snell, spent a month recently in India, teaching English to disadvantaged children. She went with Global Crossroads, and taught in a school near Bangalore. The children lived at the school during the week, but went home for the weekends. Jeanie also teaches English as a second language to immigrants in St. Paul. Here are some pictures:


Kavaya, Prieya, and Jayanthi, ages about 10. They taught Jeanie to scrub clothes on a rock. Living was like camping out. These girls could speak, read and write three languages: Kanaada, Hindi, and English. Jeanie helped them improve their English.


Jeanie slept in the library under mosquito netting to keep from getting malaria and other diseases.  She came home healthy.

May I have this dance? Alice Ragatz White, December, 2006

Alice competed in a national dance competition in Las Vegas on the weekend of December 8. The competition had over 11,000 people participating, including teachers, students, and professional dancers. Her group attended as a team from the Arthur Murray dance studio in Oakville, Ontario (near Missassauga where she lives), and included three women students, two male teachers, and the owner of the Oakville studio. Alice was in the “newcomer” status, although she’s far from a newcomer to most of us. I’d say she was a newcomer on the dance floor of the West High School Cafeteria in 1954, but she’s way beyond that now. She has to be the best ball room dancer in the class of ’54!

Alice entered 12 heats and placed within the top three in 11 out of the 12, and in fact won the solo waltz category. Wow! Other dance competitions that she entered were the Cha Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Waltz, Fox Trot, and Solo Waltz. They danced before a panel of judges and the entries extended over 12-hours each of four days. After the Holiday Dance Classic event, her team from Oakville ventured out on their own for some sight seeing in and outside of Las Vegas. Cirque du Solei was one highlight within Vegas. Valley of Fire was a side trip to the windswept rock formations outside the city, and the Hoover Dam was another side trip.

Alice adds that she has raised her bone density level by going into the studio two or three times a week and spending 45 minutes dancing without sitting down. So, good exercise in addition to fun. She says any of her classmates could do the same, so maybe more of us should follow her example.

Nice work, Alice, and keep us posted on your dance career. How’s this for an active 70 year old?


Alice and Carlos Lourenco, (instructor/partner) with the trophy for Solo Waltz

Alice and Carlos at the competition.
Cha Cha, open break, crossover position.
Solo waltz, shadow position.